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This online activity features two simulations demonstrating the comparative strengths of rectangles, arches, and triangles when stress is applied at a point. Simulations offer a simplified version of real life conditions related to the strength and stability of structures. For comparison's sake, each tested shape is of equivalent thickness and has hinged joints. The shapes show load distribution arrows when force is applied. In one simulation, a student selects a shape and initiates a dynamic illustration, providing an explanation of the effect of applying force and demonstrating how the shape can be strengthened. The second simulation shows and explains what results when increasing numbers of elephants are stacked on each of the three shapes. Copyright 2005 Eisenhower National Clearinghouse
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